No laws violated in Supervisor's roads-fund transfer, county review finds

2014-03-11T14:00:00Z 2014-03-11T21:00:10Z No laws violated in Supervisor's roads-fund transfer, county review findsBy Jamar Younger Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The Pima County Board of Supervisors did not violate any laws when it voted to move money from Supervisor Ally Miller’s district to fix Colossal Cave Road last month, according to the Pima County Attorney’s Office.

Miller requested a memo from the County Attorney’s Office after the board voted last month to move $872,000 for road work in her district to fix Colossal Cave Road in Vail.

Miller originally thought colleagues retaliated after she suggested moving $100 million away from other county projects to fix the roads.

Four out of five projects were cut from Miller’s district in favor of improving Colossal Cave Road.

She then asked the county attorney to look into the transfer. Miller said last week that she also filed a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, although she declined to discuss details.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted to waive attorney-client privilege and release the county attorney’s memo to the public.

Miller, who attended the meeting by phone, approved the release of the memo, saying it was important for the document to be released to the public.

The money transferred from Miller’s district to Colossal Cave Road was a portion of $5 million from the county budget dedicated to “pavement preservation.”

Since the projects in Miller’s district and Colossal Cave Road are designated in the same category, the board was allowed to move the money from one set of road projects to the other, according to the memo written by Chief Civil Deputy County Attorney Christopher Straub.

Straub also cited a state law that says board can move the money as long as it’s available, and the transfer is in the public interest and based on a demonstrated need.

The board’s approval ratified the prior county Department of Transportation plan and “allowed the county administrator to reallocate existing budget funds within the previously approved ‘pavement preservation’ budget category,” Straub said.

The board decided to transfer the money after Vail School District officials spoke at the meeting last month, describing hazardous conditions along Colossal Cave, where Old Vail Middle School and Acacia Elementary School are located.

Vail officials even volunteered to pitch in $100,000 to help with the road improvements, which they hope will include a center lane for left turns and right turn lanes for the two schools.

Miller had previously said Thornydale Road near Mountain View High School in her district is just as hazardous as Colossal Cave.

Contact reporter Jamar Younger at jyounger@azstarnet.com or 573-4242. On Twitter: @JamarYounger

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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